Campus transformed to boost career prospects for fashion students

An unforgettable campus experience to improve the career prospects of fashion students during the pandemic was made possible by visionaries from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

While Covid-19 deprived final year students of crucial opportunities to physically present their creations in front of industry professionals at national events, academic staff have worked tirelessly to transform The Venue @ DMU into an environment innovative gateway instead.

Combining industrial materials – such as scaffolding, translucent plastic sheeting, and wooden baseboards – with clever lighting and projection techniques, they created a stunning structural environment in which models can walk around while showcasing the student collections.

DMU academics, technicians and event experts brought three distinct sets to life and filmed four different catwalks over a two-week period, providing students of Fashion Textile Design, Contour Fashion and Fashion Design with visual content. valuable to share with potential employers.


The concept was imagined by Alan Beattie, head of the Fashion Textile Design program at DMU. He said: “Watching how the fashion shows in Milan and Paris adapted during the lockdown, I realized that we had the space, the equipment and the talent to create something similar for our students. on the campus.

“We were able to involve all the students, rather than a required selection for outdoor performances, and we achieved full parity for all. So out of nothing came something for everyone.

“The students had no idea what their work on models would look like and seeing their designs in motion just brought them to life. It was nice to see smiles on their faces after what has probably been the most difficult year of their lives. It was the best and that’s why we do it.


Fashion textile design student Penny Kowalkowski had the chance to present her collection of zero waste women’s knitwear, which combines structured and draped elements to hug the shape.

The 22-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent said: “It has been a huge advantage for us to have such individual exposure. It was all so well thought out and it was great to see our work come to life on the podium.

“The videos will be shared with us so that we have something tangible to show employers during interviews. It’s great to be able to prove that you can actually create your designs.

Penny Kowalkowski’s version of a little black knit dress

Inspired by traditional Swiss costumes, Contour Fashion student Georgia Haffenden printed her own graphic floral design on organza and layered it with lace and leather for her lingerie collection.

“It was a refreshing experience and completely unlike anything we’ve done before, which will immediately make our portfolios stand out with employers,” said the 22-year-old from Kent.

“Our tutors spent a lot of time working with the techs to make sure we were all happy. I helped behind the scenes and you could see the number of people it took to make it happen. After a difficult year, it was so beautiful.

Luxurious lingerie from Georgia Haffenden

Fashion design student Fiona Cheung showcased an enduring collection that incorporates her original digital designs onto second-hand patchwork material.

The 22-year-old from Worcestershire said: “Everything has been carefully planned and arranged to maximize the look of each collection, from the lighting to the positioning of the models.

“It was an artistic approach done in a unique way, which will really give us an edge as graduates.”

Fiona Cheung’s sustainable approach to haute couture

All four parades were filmed using five cameras and DMU technicians were responsible for everything from viewing and sound mixing to projections and lighting. After production, footage was edited into longer shows, along with shorter reels for students to share with employers.

James Thompson, Head of Performance and Events in IT and Media at DMU, ​​said: “Covid has given us the opportunity to do a lot more with our own space. It was a really exciting challenge for our team, especially working with a scenic element.

“Collaborating with so many other teams has been rewarding and it really shows what we can accomplish for future events as well. The exit from the pandemic has been very positive. “

Posted on Monday, August 9, 2021

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